So it helps us stay healthy

So it helps us stay healthy

In many pictures and photographs, nutritionists are shown holding a tape measure. However, few people know when and how they should be used in consultation.

Although for the time beingThe authorship of the invention remains disputedObviously, nutrition and tape measure (which some also call elastic meter or meter) have one thing in common: the French Revolution.

At that time a distinction began between food – understood as the selection, preparation and consumption of food known to living organisms since their origins – and nutrition, an unlearnable, unconscious and involuntary process. The Discoveries of Antoine Lavoisier, ed Especially his wife, Marie-Anne Perret-Bowles, They laid the foundations of human metabolism By stating that food oxidation is the main source of body heat. Based on his contributions, nutrition began to be considered a science.

In order to aid trade, the French Revolution needed to equalize units of measurement, and among these, length was a key point. For this reason, a committee of scholars, among others, was formed Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Delambre, Pierre Mischin and Josep Cheix, aims to solve the problem. This made it possible to create the unit of length that we know today as the meter. Hence the tape measure was created.

At first, the measuring tool amazed tailors, as it made their work faster in sewing and making clothes. But it did not take long for it to be adopted as another tool in nutritional diagnostics.

Which tape measure should nutritionists use?

Today, if we go to a search engine and enter “tape measure” and “feed,” more than 90% of the images that come up include a rubber or plastic tape measure. However, nutritionists and nutritionists advise against its use.

Incorrect use of a rubber or plastic measuring tape Stock struggle

The explanation is simple: the measuring tape must meet two conditions and it must be so Flexible and non-extendable. Rubber or plastic achieves the former, but not the latter. In fact, the International Society for the Advancement of Kinthropometry (ISAK) that day International Society for Anthropometrics Applied to Sport and Health (ISAnASHe)They recommend standardized metal tape measures, which meet the two requirements mentioned above.

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Metal measuring tape. Siscorf, from the author

Waist circumference to detect obesity

No one can argue that a tape measure is an easy-to-use and portable tool. Among the measurements we can make in adults, waist and hip circumference stand out.

Waist circumference is An established measure of abdominal obesity. to'OMS It states that a greater value of 94 and 80 centimeters for men and women, respectively, is associated with a higher risk of metabolic complications. This risk increases significantly when values ​​exceed 102 cm for men and 88 cm for women.

For his part, though, the waist and hip index is Less related to body fat contentWhen exceeded, it warns of a much greater risk of metabolic complications. Here are the clincher points I suggestOMS They are ≥ 0.90 cm in men and ≥ 0.85 cm in women.

What's more: There is recent research that points to the fact that a high waist-to-hip ratio can be considered a problem An excellent indicator of the risk of myocardial infarctionespecially in women.

On the other hand, some research indicates that obesity in the abdominal area is measured by waist circumference Waist-to-hip ratio can be associated with an increased risk of hip fractures.

Waist Height Index, a new measure

There is another measure that has gained importance in recent years: the waist height index. In fact, it is considered so A value of 0.5 for this parameter determines a greater cardiovascular and metabolic risk.

Experts recommend keeping the waist circumference of any individual less than half his height to prevent these diseases. Especially for patients with type 2 diabetes, in which this The index is most strongly associated with cardiovascular risk From waist circumference, waist and hip index and body mass index.

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As for the number of children, a tape measure is also useful for measuring the number of children Skull circumference for his age -And observing growth development-, as well as detecting severe acute malnutrition by measuring Average arm circumference.

For all this, the use of standardized measuring tapes by trained professionals will reduce technical measurement errors and help diagnose patients regarding their nutritional status.

Jose Miguel Soriano del CastilloProfessor of Nutrition and Rheumatology, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, University of Valencia

[Aquest article es publicà originalment en The Conversation.]

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